Friday, January 28, 2011

Cozy Kindle

Mom got herself a Kindle and then realized it annoyed her, so I became the new owner at Christmas. I was not sure how much I would use it because I didn't enjoy reading a book on my husband's Kindle. Then I found out that I could transfer recipes and web content to it by email for free. That changed my whole opinion of this nifty little E-reader.

My mom had bought an expensive red cover for it. It was fine and well made but it wasn't as pretty as I wanted so I set out to make my own. I dug through my stash until I found a set of polka dots that I had long since forgotten. I love polka dots and fun colors so this would work perfectly. The basic shape of this project is a rectangle. Curve the one edge so it looks pretty and then bind the edges.

My biggest challenge was the closure. I didn't want anything to scratch the screen or damage the electronics. I thought maybe a button would work but I wasn't sure it would stay shut. Then I discovered some elastic ribbon in my stash and figured out the solution. I attached a long loop of elastic ribbon to the center of the flap. I just loop the elastic around the whole case once it's closed and everything is secure. I also added a piece of fabric covered timtex to the back for rigidity.

There you have, quick Kindle cover that doesn't cost a fortune!

For dinner tonight...Pork tenderloin with veggies.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mmmm, Cheese Alternative

I'll begin at the end...
What's for dinner tonight? Whole wheat Calzones with sundried tomatoes, pepperoni, and cheese.

Wait a second. After all the groaning I do about being dairy free and dairy causing me so many troubles, how could I have calzones with cheese? I have found a new product which stands to alleviate my cheese envy. Daiya Vegan Cheese has arrived just in time to save my day. I was so excited about this product, that I sent my hubby to Whole Foods just to pick some up.

Admittedly, I did not have real high expectations for this product. Having tried several other vegan cheeses, I was always left with a strange after taste or an even stranger texture when using in my favorite recipes. I made some homemade "cheeze spread" that the girls dubbed "cheeze goop". They turned their noses up in disgust as I tried longingly to replicate my beloved cheese. They devoured their grilled cheese sandwiches while I tried desperately to console myself with cheeze goop sandwiches and convince myself that it really tasted good. It didn't.

So I tentatively placed a few shreds of mozzarella in my mouth, bracing for the funky aftertaste or the waxy texture. I was pleasantly surprised that the taste, while not exactly mozzarella, was quite good. The texture was not exactly right but very close. It was close enough that I liberally sprinkled some shreds on my calzone and hoped for the best.

Honestly, it was the best calzone I have had in years! The cheese melted beautifully and added just the right texture and taste that I didn't long for everyone else's calzones dripping with Italian cheese. My husband even declared that he would be willing to eat it in a casserole or something. That's quite an endorsement. I come!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pride Before a Fall

When I first became a parent, feeding was easy. My daughter was breastfed so I knew that my milk provided everything that she needed to grow and thrive. I didn't have to worry about vitamins and minerals or a balanced diet. Perhaps that is a gift from God because it is one less thing to worry about in our sleep deprived state. Of course in 3rd world countries it is a tremendous blessing because clean drinking water is often a problem.

As my daughter progressed to solid foods I prided myself on her varied diet. She loved all the food groups and would eat well even into her toddler years. She continues to be a good eater, willing to try new things and preferring healthy snacks to junk. I assumed that eating was a result of good parenting or bad parenting. I was a great parent, therefore, my child ate a healthy diet.

I should have known that pride goeth before a fall. My second daughter was a challenge from the start. She loved breast milk but after almost 3 years, I was finished with the whole process. She had overstayed her welcome on my privacy and I was ready to reclaim my breasts. I continued nursing mostly because I loved the closeness but also because she was a hesitant eater. She launched everything that I put into her mouth. She didn't really like anything and meals became a struggle.

I only had to look at my picky husband to realize this was a genetic defect that she had inherited from him alone. As moms, we are so wrapped up in feeding and nurturing our children that when we have a child that rejects our motherly intentions, it feels as if we are failing at motherhood. Then there is the struggle of discipline versus abuse. We feel we are falling down on the job when our defiant toddler refuses the dinner we so lovingly made. Sending them to bed hungry falls into the category of abuse, or does it? If we look at discipline in any other context, we side with the parent.

No you cannot run out into the street because I love you and don't want you to get hurt. We see the logic in that statement but how about if we look at food in the same light. No you are not going to eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese every night because I love you and want you to be healthy. We have given our girls the option to go hungry. They can eat what is on the table, or they can go hungry. Once we accepted that it is our role as parents to teach them healthy eating habits, the stress and worry subsided. We cannot force them to eat but we can provide healthy foods.

As my youngest nears her 10th birthday, I see tremendous change. She no longer goes to bed hungry. She is willing to try new things on occasion. Even though her sensitivity to foods continues, it no longer causes disruptions. I have found ways to feed her fruits and vegetables that she willingly accepts. Whole wheat pumpkin muffins, zucchini bread, and roasted sweet potatoes top her list of yummy foods. Allowing her to help cook has also broadened her list of acceptable foods.

For dinner tonight...Sloppy Joes (with some shredded carrots and red peppers for added benefit)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Dye

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. After being stuck in the house for the better part of this week due to ice and snow, I've run out of things to sew. I was expecting to get several packages of fabric to work on mouse costumes for the dance studio this week and since the adage "neither rain, nor sleet, nor dead of night" no longer holds true, I had to improvise.

The coat at left is one project that my daughter desperately needed and just in the nick of time. Then I proceeded to make pajamas for everyone in the house, save hubby as he wears the boxers I make him to bed. I know TMI.

Having made everyone pj's, cleaned the house, played Wii, it was time for something new. I just happened to see a blogpost somewhere about snow dying fabric. Well, I have lots of snow!

I was on a kick for several years of dying fabric. It was fun and I've made some interesting garments out of the results. Turns out, I ran out of interest before I ran out of fabric. I still have yards of PFD hemp cotton jersey, french terry, and corduroy. What can I say, it was dying to be colored.

It involves piling snow on top of wet fabric and then squirting dye all over it like a giant snow cone. Warning: Don't taste it no matter how good it looks. Then it's time for patience. Let the snow melt completely (or almost, I ran out of patience). Rinse. Wash. Dry.

It was like Christmas at the end of they day unfolding our masterpiece. It did make a bit of a mess and my hands are still varying shades of blue, yellow, and red. The results are spectacular though. Almost like we painstakingly painted the fabric.

Today we are playing with round II of snow dying. My girls wanted to make t-shirts and I wanted to dye up the last yard or so of hemp corduroy. By this afternoon the snow may be gone but the fabric will be a reminder of the Snow Storm of 2011!

Dinner tonight...tacos!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

Oh the weather outside is frightful...
I love a good snow storm and that is the one thing I miss living in the south. Of course it takes a lot less snow in the south to make for a good snow day. I grew up outside DC and as soon as it started snowing, they started plowing. By the time the storm was over, we could get out and about. We missed a day of school here and there, but not like they miss down here. If they are predicting snow or any wintry precipitation, the schools close.

Of course the south has no reason to invest millions in snow removal equipment so we cope. The problem is that people get snowed in for a day and go stir crazy. All these moms that are desperate to send their kids off to school everyday suddenly find themselves stuck in the house with those same kids. They feel the desperate need to go OUT. It doesn't matter where...Kroger, Walmart, just out. Of course going out on these roads is a death wish. In the south, they don't plow neighborhoods and side streets. They were having a tough enough time keeping the interstates clear today. Add to their ice woes an SUV with stir crazy mom and a load of crazy kids. Seems like a good time.

I am more than happy to stay home. Gives me more time to sew! The kids are thoroughly entertained by the rare accumulating snow and play outside. I have gotten so much done this week with no activities to attend and no kids around. I will take a snow week anytime.

For dinner tonight...hamburgers, roasted potatoes, and peas.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness

With Bible Study Fellowship on Christmas break I've returned to my old method of Bible Study. I open the Bible randomly and start reading. I always find God speaking to me through the words of wherever I seem to be reading. This morning even more so than usual.

Lately, God has been speaking to me through hymns. I cannot remember scripture, aside from my favorite verses, but hymns stick in my head like glue. I find myself thinking and humming them all day. This morning Great is Thy Faithfulness was running through my head. I opened my Bible this morning and began reading Lamentations. "The Lord's compassions are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 is the verse behind the hymn and that is where I happened to be reading. Coincidence, I think not.

In my prayer time I realized something important. I long to know what lies ahead. I cannot see the future but wish I could. I know that God has great plans for me and my family, I just don't know what they are. I follow the weather intently. I realized this morning it is because it gives me a glimpse of the days ahead. I cannot foresee anything but I can know what weather lies ahead, or at least pretend to know as the weather forecast is often wrong beyond 24 hours. I sometimes worry about the days ahead. What is to become of us? When will Dave find a job? God has told me over and over that I need not worry about tomorrow. I need only think about today. For today, I have enough money. For today, my provisions are met. Today, I need to be joyful about today. This is the day the Lord hath made and I should rejoice, not worry about tomorrow.

Here is the last stanza of the hymn. I pray that it gives you the hope it has given me today.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow-
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!